FLAC highlights the urgent need for improved Traveller Accommodation and Anti-Discrimination legislation at Oireachtas Committee Hearing

21 March 2024


FLAC highlights the urgent need for improved Traveller Accommodation and Anti-Discrimination legislation at Oireachtas Committee Hearing

FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) appeared before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues Affecting the Traveller Community this morning to discuss the topic of Traveller accommodation.

The independent human rights and equality organisation (which operates a dedicated Traveller Legal Service) highlighted the need for legal and policy reforms to promote human rights, equality and access to justice for Travellers in the housing context. FLAC’s analysis and recommendations are informed by the organisation’s experience of providing legal assistance to Travellers in cases concerning access to housing.

In her opening statement to the Committee, Sinéad Lucey (FLAC Managing Solicitor) expressed disappointment about the absence of “meaningful legal changes in the areas of Traveller accommodation [and] equality law [in recent years]… This is despite the introduction of the Housing For All plan, the establishment of the Housing Commission, a Government commitment to a referendum on housing, the initiation of a comprehensive review of the equality legislation, and the development of a landmark Planning and Development Bill.”

FLAC’s written submission to the Committee made detailed recommendations for:

  • Enhancing the planning process and ensuring delivery of Traveller accommodation.
  • Preventing evictions of Traveller families living on the roadside with no procedural safeguards.
  • Introducing minimum standards for all forms of Traveller accommodation.
  • Ensuring that the conditions for access to social housing and emergency accommodation do not indirectly discriminate against Travellers.
  • Ensuring that there is an effective remedy for racial profiling and discrimination in the housing context.

Ms Lucey emphasised that “access to justice [is] vital to ensure that housing and equality rights are effective and enforceable in practice”.

FLAC has called on the Oireachtas Committee to engage with the Legal Aid Board around the resourcing of its Minceir Traveller Legal Support Service which currently only employs one solicitor. Ms Lucey added that “this is no way near the level of resources necessary to tackle the huge amount of unmet legal need amongst the Traveller Community”.


Notes to Editors:

FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) is an independent human rights and equality organisation, which exists to promote access to justice. As an Independent Law Centre, FLAC takes on a number of cases in the public interest each year and operates a Traveller Legal Service, Roma Legal Clinic and LGBTQI Legal Service. FLAC also operates a legal information and referral telephone line and a nationwide network of legal advice clinics where volunteer lawyers provide basic free legal advice.

Since 2017, FLAC has provided targeted and specialised legal services for members of the Traveller community.  In early 2020, FLAC (in cooperation with a Steering Group made up of representatives from each of the national Traveller organisations) established a dedicated a Traveller Legal Service, supported by The Community Foundation.

In each year since 2017, access to accommodation has emerged as the single most prevalent issue amongst people seeking legal assistance from FLAC’s targeted legal services for Travellers. During its first two full calendar years in operation, the TLS dealt with over 100 housing queries. 

FLAC frequently represents Traveller families in cases concerning access to social housing, Traveller-specific accommodation and emergency accommodation - as well as cases concerning the adequacy of each of those forms of accommodation and cases where Travellers living on the roadside are subject to eviction proceedings.

Sinéad Lucey’s opening statement to the Committee may be accessed here:

FLAC’s written submission to the Committee may be accessed here: